Behind the Black Door: Tales from 51X

51X Black Door
Opening night

Opening night

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Jun 17, 2022

On March 6, 1982 51X officially opened it's gallery doors to the public with the inaugural exhibition. The "Opening Night" group show were artists Futura 2000, Dondi, Fab Five Freddy, Kiely Jenkins and myself. Futura was a great help and responsible for putting together the group of artists that participated. I couldn't have done it without him. I remember when Futura said that Fred was going to join in I was ecstatic! At the time Fab Five Freddy was bigger than life to me, the real deal, a true artist and an ambassador to the arts. He was very influential...

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FUTURA - A Night to remember

FUTURA - A Night to remember

Posted by Rich Colicchio on May 22, 2022

I had become good friends with FUTURA and Gerb  1981. They both always welcomed me with open arms keeping me up on the current events  and happenings.  At the time Futura started preparing for his one man show at the Fun Gallery. Gerb was out of town and he planned on doing the artwork right upstairs, in their apartment. That day Futura was going to work on the pieces and he invited me to come over and hangout. I arrived by early evening and  the only other person there was Jeanette’s brother. Jeanette was Futura’s girlfriend then, her name appeared...

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Keith Haring Priceless Tale

Keith Haring Priceless Tale

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Apr 30, 2022

One night I was sitting outside by myself on the stoop of 51St.Marks Place. Keith Haring happened to walk up to the building visiting Gerb and Futura. We knew each other quite well having shared a few classes together at SVA and from the East Village art scene. I told him that they weren't home at the time so he decided to sit down next to me and chat. During the conversation Keith wished he had taken the media art production classes I did to earn extra needed cash. I responded " but you are having a major one man...

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Right place at Right time

Right place at Right time

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Mar 04, 2022

Right place at right time. By 1980 the East Village in NYC was the place to be for most up and coming artists, musicians and writers all gathered there. Making it the new hot spot and becoming the talk of the town! Saint Marks Place was the street considered to be the center of the new scene. On any given day walking around the neighborhood you would see people  like Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone, Tama Janowitz, Rene Ricard, Patti Astor to name a few. This became our inspiration and main reason we decided to look in...

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Birth of 51X

Birth of 51X

Posted by Rich Colicchio on Feb 21, 2022

In 1981 Rich Colicchio and Ed Kurpell rented an abandoned storefront located on 51 St Marks place in NYC and 51X was born. After graduating from The School of Visual Arts in 1980 I faced the usual dilemma as an Artist getting exposure and my work shown. It seemed almost impossible to achieve with the current Soho and 57th St Gallery system. Influenced by ABC No Rio, Club 57, and Fashion Moda I decided to do it myself and open an artists run studio/gallery in an East Village storefront. 51X has the distinction of being the first artist run gallery in...

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